“She who loves the beach” is the title of a picture by Suzy Toronto that hangs in my home office. It reminds me of the reason that I live just a few blocks away from the Atlantic.

“Turn off the computer, Lyn”, it whispers, “and go for a walk on the beach.” When I heed the advice, I return home tired physically, refreshed mentally, and nourished spiritually.

I love strolling leisurely on all of “my beaches” in east central Florida; and because I visit often, I am struck by how the beach scene changes. The tides, the weather, the season, the number of people, or even my own state of mind make each seascape and each experience unique.

Over the last several days, I walked on two very different beaches, separated not so much by distance, as by human use.

New Smyrna Beach takes pride in its beach, as well it should. Locals and tourists alike enjoy not only the sand and surf, but also the hospitality, activities, and accommodations of a beachside community that values its “charm.”

Twin Condos, New Smyrna Beach Florida

Twin Condos, New Smyrna Beach Florida

But make no mistake; there is development here, with beaches lined by homes and condos. Cars are even permitted on some parts of the beach in New Smyrna although more restricted now than in the past.

PSA area, Jet skies only!

PSA area, Jet skies only!

First this week, I joined the happy hordes in New Smyrna Beach, keeping ears and ears alert for cars in the driving lines. People watching galore!

I was pleased to share smiles and friendly greetings with others that were enjoying a day in the sun.

On this trip, I was amused to see a portion of the beach designated as a Personal Watercraft Area for launching jet skies without, I presume, needing to avoid bathers or surfers.

Several days later, I visited Apollo Beach in Canaveral National Seashore about 10 miles to the south of my first stop.

Agave plants in bloom,  Apollo Beach

Agave plants in bloom, Apollo Beach

Here, the beachgoer (me) steps back in time when nature, and not humans, fashioned the beachscape. There are no air-conditioned condos and no beach driving on this beach!

Certainly, structures are present. Some are remnants of early settlement, such as the Eldora House, now a museum. The National Park Service builds and maintains other structures, such as boat ramps or dune walkways, to help visitors enjoy the outdoor environment, from the Mosquito Lagoon estuary, (aptly-named, by the way) to the Atlantic shore.

“Leave only footprints” has a very special meaning here.

How fortunate I am! I can tailor my beach experience to my mood: festive and sociable, reclusive and contemplative, or somewhere in-between.

Apollo Beach, Canaveral National Seashore

Apollo Beach, Canaveral National Seashore

“She who loves the beach” will always be…Lyn

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